Christian Eriksen surprised the Denmark team with a visit in the middle of a training session Friday and then gave everyone all a hug, his teammates said on Saturday.
Eriksen was discharged from a Copenhagen hospital on Friday and immediately went to see his teammates at their European Championship base camp outside the capital.
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Midfielder Christian Norgaard and defender Joakim Maehle said it came as a big surprise.
“I didn’t know he was coming, so we stopped the training session when he arrived,” Norgaard said. “He seemed to be in good spirits, and it gave a good energy to the team. We were allowed to give him a hug, and it was great to see him walk around with his son. It was a good day in many ways. It was what we needed.”
Eriksen, 29, suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s first Euro 2020 game against Finland last Saturday and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. His teammates formed a protective wall around him as he was getting treatment to shield him from public view.
He was discharged from the hospital after being fitted with an implantable heart monitoring device that is meant to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Christian Eriksen was released from hospital on Friday. Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images
Maehle said Eriksen was accompanied by his partner and two young children during his visit. The Inter Milan midfielder had lunch with the team before going home to spend time with his family.
“It was emotional because the last time we saw him he was lying there on the field being saved,” Maehle said. “We knew that Christian was OK, but it’s completely different to see him in real life.”
Denmark lost to Finland and Belgium in their first two games at Euro 2020 but still have a chance to advance from Group B with a win over Russia on Monday at Parken Stadium.
Forward Andreas Skov Olsen said Eriksen’s visit will help the team focus fully on the Russia game.
“It was so nice to see him standing right in front of you,” Skov Olsen said. “It’s important for us to know Christian is OK so we can concentrate on the rest of the tournament.”
Inter Milan, Eriksen’s club, sent an open letter to their player on Saturday, thanking him and expressing support. It is not known at this point whether Eriksen will return to the Serie A club.
“They weren’t normal days, those that we counted from Saturday, from those moments that seemed so long and without sense to us, when all we wanted was for it to be a bad dream. Fortunately, we wake up from even the worst nightmares,” the letter reads.
“In the respectful silence of these days, we have condensed all our thoughts, our prayers, even our sighs: Those of relief, for the photos and the updates coming from a place we didn’t know until a few days ago, the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen.
“On Tuesday morning the best moment came: A photo, a smile, a thumbs up. And a liberating message: “Hello everyone, big thanks for your messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family. I’m fine”.
“There you were, Christian Eriksen.
“Another step forward was taken on Friday: The operation, the discharge from the hospital, and the visit to his teammates: ‘It was incredible to see the amount of messages you have dedicated to me. The operation went well and, considering the circumstances, I am fine. It was wonderful to see my teammates again after the great match they played last night, and I will obviously cheer for them on Monday against Russia.’
“We have not stopped dedicating our thoughts to Christian, not even for a moment, silently respecting such a delicate and personal moment.
“At the same time, however, the expressions of affection were many, they were beautiful and natural.
“While the match between Denmark and Finland restarted in Copenhagen on Saturday, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi both took to the field with Belgium and Morocco, dedicating their goals to Eriksen. “Chris, I love you” Romelu shouted to the cameras in a message that has reverberated everywhere. The tributes came from all corners of the world, all the way from South Korea and the goals of Son Heung-min, Christian’s teammate at Tottenham.
“The shivers of fear turned into relief over these last few days. And into emotion: The huge No. 10 shirt shown before Denmark vs. Belgium, in that same stadium as on Saturday. The game stopped after 10 minutes when fans applauded, as did the players on the pitch, including Romelu Lukaku. The banners, the jerseys shown by the fans, and the national teams who all dedicated a thought to our No. 24.
“These are all moments that make up the strongest and most heartfelt embrace for Christian Eriksen.
“Forza Chris, Inter and all the interisti are with you!”
Sources familiar with Eriksen told ESPN’s Gabriele Marcotti that once all his tests are completed and there are no other risks of myocardial issues, the Denmark player could theoretically return to action quickly.
Eriksen would need a special dispensation to return to action at Inter Milan, as the Italian Olympic committee which is responsible for all sports, bar players from playing with internal defibrillators.
All the internal and external devices need to be approved by the committee and Eriksen would need what the national Olympic committee calls a “certificate of physical integrity.”
One of the criteria is if a medical device endangers the player or others. In the case of internal defibrillators, the thinking is that a player’s health could be affected if the device is damage after a hit in the chest area.